tv Madam Speaker CSPAN January 5, 2019 1:32pm-2:10pm EST
nancy pelosi was elected a speaker of the house. and marc sandalow wrote about her rise to power in his book "madam speaker: nancy pelosi's life, times, and rise to power". this is from 2008. [applause] >> thank you. i started it yesterday in washington and got out here and did a little t.v. thing this morning. i still have a tie on. it's nice to be here i feel completely overdressed. if i were nancy pelosi i would stop by thinking you will for your leadership. individually in front of cameras. but i am not, so i won't. but have to point out family, my sister-in-law and brother-in-law sarah and bill are here. my bay area relatives. thank you for coming. why write a book on nancy pelosi? i had to think about that for a
bit. in my bookshelf as a journalist, it is filled by biographies with absolutely washington people that would love to have read and i would love to have the information in my head but i have no intention of actually reading. washington is filled with fascinating people. nancy pelosi is a very different story. there is nobody else like her. she is historic. they will name buildings after. not just in san francisco. but in washington. it will drive republicans crazy but she really is a piece of history. for some perspective, 12,000 americans in congress throughout the history, of those 12,000, 231 have been women. i think i've got the number right. jackie speier was just elected from san francisco. that's about one in 50. of the 231 women, none of them
ever number for the party structure before nancy pelosi a few years ago when elected whip. that means she is a very different story from anyone is ever served at that level of government before. if you are my age, you have a picture of a speaker the stereotype would be tip o'neill. that guy with a craggy noise and a craggy face. or it could be sam rayburn and have history books, there is a building named after him. when tip o'neill was 37, he was speaker of the massachusetts assembly. they called it the house of representatives. when sam rayburn was 32nd he ready been elected to congress 5c0. nancy pelosi was 37, she was living in sort of the san francisco. she was at home with a 12-year-old, 10-year-old,
nine-year-old, eight-year-old and a six-year-old. as a father i'm always fascinated by this. that you can be a professional and a great parent. there are those movies, the markham president. where the guys a single dad and a great president. it is a myth! it is an impossibility. no disrespect to this george bush or to bill clinton. i'm sure that they are as loving as debts and their positions can be but you cannot be a dedicated father. you cannot put an 18 hours a day to compass what you need to to be a politician at that level and be a spectacular parent. nancy pelosi figured out a way to do this. she's not the only politician with a bunch of kids. but pat schroeder preceded her in congress like to point out, all of her men colleagues who had a bunch of kids like she did, at something she did not have. a wife. and you know there is some
truth to appear nancy pelosi pulled this out in part because she spent the first half of her life having kids. she had five kids in six years. which even as a man, think about five years in six years and one week! she raised the kids and when she was 46 years old, she declared her candidacy of congress. in a sense, the first half of her life as a parent and the second life as a politician. all politicians of kids and we know that because they'll hold them and kiss them in front of cameras. nancy plus is a devoted mother, no question about it. she talks about wishing she could take her kids out and throw them in the ring so that they would shrink back so she could have them as little kids again. she wants to raise her grandkids she says that her daughters don't want her to do that necessarily. so how does she accomplish this? how does she become the first woman to do it no woman in american history has done before? in an arena dominated by men? in the book i talk about three
reasons. her timing and her toughness, and i will quickly go through each of them. her pedigree, she was born into politics. her dad was a member of congress representing little italy and baltimore when she was born. he used to stuff the congressional record underneath her bed so she literally was raised on top of congressional details. when she was in first grade he ran for mayor of baltimore and reelected three more times. from the time she was in first grade until college her dad was arguably, the best known person involved. the only competition we been the starting quarterback in the colts who was probably more but the name tommy meant a lot out there. she saw politics as her brother said, in the raw every day. this was back in the 40s in the 50s . constituents would come to the house in little italy, looking for jobs, looking for whatever city hall can do. you know he knows things that
people beg the folks at work is city hall. constituents come in continually. as a tendril girl pelosi knew the drill. human constituent desk at the front house of the home, there was a legal -- people come after a favor she write down their name and telephone number. then you go about seeing if you can help them. and at the end of the day, all of the kids including nancy would take the names off of the legal pad and transfer them onto folders. while other families had recipe files, they had a fever file which is what they called it. and come election day, we need someone to drive to the polls and you need someone to work the precinct and put up signs, they had a whole file folder full of these things. she knew this from a little girl. it was family, the catholic church and the democratic party. not always in the order but she grew up absolutely revering. one of the things about nancy pelosi is that it helps to have
a good name in politics, george bush tells you how that works. not just on the conservative side. ted kennedy certainly prospered with a good family name. the clintons, hillary clinton, to a certain degree and her husbands name. nancy pelosi, her brother, tommy -- nancy married which went to washington d.c.. and married paul pelosi and moved 3000 miles to the west coast. folks in san francisco today don't even know that name. so she may have had it instilled in her dna but it was not hunting that got her elected. in terms of timing it took hundred and 31 years of the constitution was ratified for women to be guaranteed the right to vote. it took 73 more years after that into the early 1990s, for women to be 10 percent of the
u.s. congress. in 1940 when nancy pelosi was born there was a single woman that ever served on the baltimore city council. no women governors in america, there was one woman in the senate and a woman in the house. also essentially there because her husband or their husbands had preceded them and they'd taken over. when she arrived in washington in 1987, the number had tripled. they were 24 women in congress. by the time she came speaker the number was up now to 74. end of the special election, 75 or 76 now. still unbelievable minority when you think women are more than 50 percent of the electorate. another way of looking at this, one third of the women that had ever served in congress in the history of the country, are serving today when nancy pelosi become speaker. a generation ago this would have been unthinkable. she didn't necessarily suffer the same indignities other women, she is not the jackie
robinson of congress. people came from denver, about her age but got to congress 15 years before hand. she arrived in congress i think was 1973 when she arrived there. she was an antiwar activist. she got to the same time as -- from berkeley also antiwar actors. they both had seats on the armed services committee. chaired the committee, edward from new orleans, he didn't want to have certain committees but the house and times are changing in the city of no choice. these folks are on your committee. the first committee meeting, she recalled going and having bobby said, apparently i can no longer control who serves on the committee but i still control the chairs at the podium, he put one chair and said go ahead. they literally sat cheek to cheek from the first committee. that's not that long ago only 25 years ago.
when other committee members didn't stand up the same thing. that would not happen. and this very district, 10 years later, she talks about a subcommittee hearing. interestingly another democrat from new orleans area stood up after she's made some remarks and i like to associate my self with the congresswoman and said i would like to associate with the woman. and another guy chuckled and said i would like to associate with the woman from california. and they all had this little joke. nancy pelosi, this doesn't seem to have happened to her. she arrived in washington in a bit of a higher plane and then she'd been california's democratic party chair. they didn't do this to her and she seemed to be fine suffering
whatever indignity some i have perceived as long as she got what she was after. there's a story i tell him the book that the chief of staff to me. a guy by the name of fred ross his father was one of the founders of the united farmworkers. he was an organizer for the first campaign and 87. and before he went to work for her and her staff, he had something called neighbor to neighbor. a group that was trying to get american coffee companies to boycott sales of coffee from el salvador to protest the human rights problems in el salvador. they actually produce a television ad with a cup of coffee. and the cup of coffee spills over and blood comes running out it. not surprisingly, low stations wouldn't run the ad. got to be quite controversial and they got the big national attention. so he saw one point that there was a folgers coffee owned by procter and gamble. and their heavy reception on capitol hill. so he called up his buddy nancy pelosi and said you have to take me. so nancy pelosi says no
problem. she brings him in there. they walk into the reception. he was to talk to the ceo of procter and gamble. the sea -- the ceo says mrs. pelosi, we have a lot of fragrances that we think you might enjoy. she does not kick him in the shins, she does not storm out of their and tell stories. she civilly says, i would like you to meet my good friend. and the guys face goes ashen as he is shaking his hand and he says i want you to know that i find your tactics reprehensible. he did not get a meeting with the ceo and did get a meeting with folger. and they used to joke later on fred ross and nancy pelosi and said the london freckles is probably named reprehensible. it would've been a good name for it. [laughter] that would lead into nancy's toughness. she does not mess around. there's a misconception when people turn on the television and see them speaking into a camera about what she's about. she's not very polished speaker. her mind is much quicker than
her mouth. and a journalist transcribed dozens and dozens of conversations. it is in need of dashes and combos and she doesn't speak in long clear sentences. she is almost always partisan represents what people think in washington as the most liberal. come over to berkeley rice to live, but she does represent a very liberal constituent. and people turn that on and think, doesn't the call is at the heart to be speaker of the house. she is an inside player. she is a master tactician. she knows how to build coalitions to win majorities and she understands, she may not understand barack obama, to make an eloquent argument in terms of building support around the issue. but what she does understand is which members of her caucus and
the democratic party ought to be introducing what piece of legislation, when to maximize publicity to make sure they get the right attention so that member gets reelected. she is very good at that. when she arrived in 1987, aids had killed about 20,000 people at that point. ronald reagan has mentioned that twice. he'd been asked about in a press conference and during her first election to congress, had given a speech on it. but he was not getting the attention that he does today. she figured a way to build a coalition and at that time was killing just folks in her district and iv drug users that didn't have the sympathy of the congress. by the time she left congress, the by the time she left and became speaker i should say, she had hundreds of billions of dollars to be spent fighting the disease. she understood when george bush proposed reforming social security that the best way to fight this, was to present no
alternative. and she took lots of reviews. george bush, the democrats said no, what is your plan? our plan is not his plan. his plan doesn't work. she started to have the democrats and the republicans squaring off with two plans would lead to this fight to get muddled. she saw that she was the folks in little italy, getting social security, this program in america, go after george bush and try to miss -- dismantle it. the popularity plummeted as he suggested social security. for other reasons as well. she understood in 2002 that about the war in iraq, while the rest of the folks were standing with george bush, remember, the democratic leader in congress at that point, stood next to george bush in the rose garden as he signed the authorization to use force in iraq in 2002.
hillary clinton voted for the same resolution.john kerry voted for it, john edwards voted for it, and majority senate democrats voted for it. the number one democrat in the house was in favor of it. george bush 's popularity at that .90 percent. nancy pelosi led 60 percent of the house democrats against the resolution and a pass because republicans have majority. she understands how to do these coalitions. if you have any doubt, the presidio across the golden gate bridge. when it was turned into a national park 10 years ago it was the most expensive national park and the entire park system. nancy pelosi was the author of the legislation. she got that past in san francisco under a republican majority. that took some doing. you look at nancy pelosi and she doesn't look the part. she doesn't look like tip o'neill. she doesn't look like lbj.
someone that can stand over and berate you in the hallway. -- stairs and anger when he did something to disappoint them. nancy pelosi has a very different style about her. she is a very stylish lady. she doesn't come across to people that don't know her as intimidating. but she plays tough. what she made clear as the people who stand with the democratic party with her, are going to get rewards and those people who don't will suffer the consequences. a good example of that was back when she became leader. she was moving up the ranks in first became whip. that was the number three position in the democratic party. they lost a congressional seat and there was a primary election between john dingell, first elected to congress when nancy pelosi was 15 years old. and rivers from ann arbor where i grew up. and she was more of a liberal,
she was a -- the two of them clashed in a democratic primary. she got $10,000 from her massive campaign to rivers. and people say don't do that the people in washington were horrified. you are a leader of the democratic party you don't choose sides. like choosing sides between children. completely inexperienced. and it was a rookie mistake. and she got beat up in the washington media for this. it wasn't a mistake. she said to me about six months later, she was with me , rivers. he was not. in her race for whip john dingell had been with her opponent. and rivers had been on her side. she wanted to send a message. if you're with me then i will reward you. if you're not with me then i might reward your enemy. she was very plain. it was interesting and this was like a gender thing.tom --
used similar tactics when republican whip. he was named the hammer. he was a tough exterminator from texas. he was a hammer. nancy pelosi was seen as a rookie mistake. but people have learned to take her very seriously. let me conclude before i take some questions. talking about her speakership, very briefly. she would tell you that, and she is right, they raise the minimum wage since she took over. they raised fuel efficiency standards for automobiles. cut student college tuition loans in half. these are not unsubstantial to accomplish miss. but these are not big ticket items for this is not what she came to speakership to accomplish. she herself said as she took over speaker, ending the war was the most important priority on the table. and they are more troops in iraq today than they were when nancy pelosi took over as speaker. there are more americans without health insurance. there are, the deficit is bigger, we are close to a recession. the acrimony in washington
between democrats and republicans is certainly no better under democratic majority in congress than it was under the republican majority in congress. if pelosi is going to be successful as speaker she needs a democratic speaker and bigger majority spirit when tip o'neill took over as speaker of the house in the early 1980s, he had a 149 seat democratic majority. that means he could lose 70 or 72 or 73 votes and still win. nancy pelosi took over with a 32 seat majority. 17 democrats abandoned her and suddenly they lose the issue. for her, if she was most successful it was a matter of she's kept democrats together, people take it for granted but think of how it is that a quarterback for the washington redskins is pro-life, pro-gun, democrat from north carolina, serves in the u.s. congress, he's a democrat. he is still playing on the same
team with woolsey. and they go to their caucus every week and although we have seen some fights between fellow democrats it's remarkable that 15 or 16 months into speakership there's almost none of that. democrats are still in the house being largely united. the idea behind this is to keep them united through november and you make a democrat in the white house, build up democrats in the senate and build a majority in the house. so nancy pelosi can get legislation through. she needs that if she's going to be an historic figure. she needs to be successful, she will need democratic majority. either way, to the annoyance of many republicans they will still name buildings after in washington. and that's it! [applause] because of the camera, do you mind coming up here to answer the questions? in washington they have a microphone that can move around
to you. [inaudbile] and yet people say silly things on c-span every single day! don't be intimidated every day. i'm not just a game about the house and the senate. >> is is being recorded for youtube? >> we can put it there! >> my question is, at the convention which i understand she is presiding over, the nomination is not sold up one way or another, how do you anticipate her handling the obama/clinton decision which would then be made on the convention floor? >> it's a good question how she would handle it. because she has long experience with this. back in 1984 she was actually in charge of delegating enforcement and try to get new hampshire, they had moved there, people last week of march and the party said you can't do this? and she had to deliver the news to new hampshire.
you do that and we will not let you sit down at the convention. which stands at persisting and they did sit down at the convention. but pelosi and his very vera position. i will call it superduper delegate. she is a superdelegate because she's a member of the house of representatives as a democrat. but she is only superdelegate who has 232 other superdelegates all the house democrats working underneath her. she controls the committee assignments. she controls her legislative opportunities. they are not all going to listen to her. many of them have a ready declared for obama or clinton. i'm nothing pelosi could wave a wand and make 230 to follow. but she is uniquely influential with the superdelegates. she seems to be in a better position than anyone else to be able to go to hillary clinton or barack obama after the voting is done in june and say, this is going to end. and if you don't and i will. because she is the ability to bring forward these deldot try to close it down. she will scrupulously neutral in a public statement. she will not side one way or the other. she would seem to have some historic reasons to be with
hillary clinton.on the other hand if you listen to her language over the last couple of months, even the last couple of decades, the way she talks about change in washington. it is very similar to barack obama. the number one quality i think that moved nancy pelosi is who will win in november? who will bring more democrats to washington? her interest in building majorities in washington. all of her body language at this point has been towards barack obama. her closest allies in congress, george miller in east bay for example, most of the came out for barack obama. george willard just a week before the california primary. although i don't look at him as a proxy for her, if she were a secret hillary supporter and didn't want to say it is unthinkable that they would come out for obama. my guess is she needs obama but this is a woman that means democratic whatever it might be and she wants to make sure the party wins. so she would do whatever she can. she has a very influential
role. who else has questions? not to be intimidated by the -- >> uh-oh! just got twisted back. [inaudbile] who is your assumption for who will win between barack obama and hillary? and after that can mccain beat either of them? [laughter] >> like to see you! a former colleague of mine. he left the chronicle before they threw me out. [laughter] i mean -- i basically think that mccain, obama and clinton. i do not feel any of the wins the white house.
i really don't! i see fatal flaws. i have a hard time seeing hillary clinton overcoming the obstacles. i have a hard time seeing america boarding for some like barack obama and john mccain is on the wrong side of theissues for most americans. it's hard for me to say . i think barack obama has a better chance anymore. i think is likely to prevail over hillary clinton, the delegates in his favor. if anything, at this point,it can happen. but i would basically say it is barack obama . democrats have really i mean, watch the debate on television. and democrats have anything going for them, the war in iraq and the economy. both of which the american people are furious about and last night in the hour and and a half long debate it wasn't until the 51st minute that either of those issues came up. they talked about obama and whether he wears an american flag. and it is not all of the media
asphalt but i would say they lit the matches. hillary and the hillary clinton campaign and obama to a certain degree. although a lesser degree. the media just walks around with canisters of gasoline ready to throw on it. >> don't you find it amusing and ironic that they are accusing obama -- >> after george bush campaign accused john kerry of being cowardly during the vietnam war, nothing amazes me in politics! nothing! >> were you serious when he said none of the three -- >> one of them will win! it's just at this point, i don't really see how any of them win. but one of them will win. i'm confident, as the author of a new book on nancy pelosi would be delightful if she were to step forward and run for president. but it seems that will not happen. >> what about al gore? >> the democrats used to be very happy with their choices until they made the rest of the party dislike them.
thank you joel! yes, come on up! >> to follow up on your comment in regards to nancy pelosi, where do you see her future? what do you see her you know, the on the speaker or do you think that she will end her career there? ... seems very, very unlikely even though she has stabbed as although deher district and
heart is left, she lead very much as a pragmatist. wants to get something done which is why when he comes home to san francisco, the leftes protesting her no. i love telling people in washington how the lefts mad at her. this not here arena. to be president as barack obama has shown, it's very helpful to be able to be eloquent and nancy pelosi is -- see is an inside player. knows things like -- if she look down in this crowd now, she would remember if you had given money to democratic causes and how that money went to use but the spectacular quality for an operative, it's not a great quality for a presidential candidate, it's a nice quality. outnot her arena. she can be speaker for probably for many years, she is completely secure with her democratic caucus right now. there will concerns when san francisco liberal became the party leader that the center would revolt. the center is very pleased. he
she brought them to the majorrism. john dingle who had a big fight with her, said, republicans hate her, has to be something good. they learned to respect her. so his totally -- the biggest danger for her is if obama and clinton wins in 2008, which is i think joel seems to me lower -- more likely than not. the war in iraq is disastrous, and the economy going disastrously, both of which are not unlikely there would be a backlash against democrats in 2010, that would be a danger spot for the democrats losing their majority in congress and she would no longer be speaker. she would beer in 70s. have strong suspicion she is would come home and spend more time with heir grandkids buzz i see her being speaker for many years to come. >> why didn't she agree to be
interviewed by you and also i think you said on the -- she is going write her own memoir. how will the books be different? >> she is nottese to deal with from a press standpoint. she's been gracious to me but she never wanted it said she was too good for the local media, she'll talk to the "washington post" and not the san francisco chronicle so i interviewed her. she was good about returning phone calls and i traveled with her, interviewed her more than 100 time is 'when i told her staff i was writing a book, she literally had no contact with me after that. was shut out completely. think in part because she has great suspicion of the news media, some of it she's writing her own book. i wonder if i can say this once c-span. some of heir disdain for in the news media -- i don't -- in washington they're philadelphia with politicians who love to hear themselves talk, and we
play off that as journalists to get them to talk. she also grew up in a household where journalist were not revere evidence. her father was mayor, was on interviewed a lot but her father didn't seem to have been that warm toward journalist. the story i wasn't sure i could tell. he was being pestered by a reporter or questioned, as i should say next '50s from the baltimore sun, who said, we really want to know your position on this and he said, no, he wasn't giving a straight answer and the journalists we call our editors, the desk, the news desk, that's where they sit. she said, mayor, my desk wants to know you position on this issue. and he was said to have -- said, my desk tells your desk to go fuck itself. nancy pelosi would never, ever use words like that. but many of white house covered her thought she might have felt things like that very often. she does have book coming out in
the summer, as i understand it, not so much of a memoir as trying to be an inspiration to young girls. the title of the book is know know your power" to tell women what to do to capitalize on their power. i'm sure hi book will be very different. i'll read it very anxiously. >> i really like nancy pelosi a lot. i think she is one of the most politically savvy people out there. and i am somewhat mystified that the impeachment came off the table right at the beginning and in spite of the news day after day after day of things that seemed to me to be indictable, let alone impeachable, it's not happening. can you explain that? >> i think that in part this was a political calculation in large part on her part. i think nancy pelosi would be delighted to have george bush not be president. the way she speaks of him is with very little respect. with pelosi the calculation was
if impeachment was successful it would consume washington. wents through this with become clinton as a report. it would take up all the oxygen in washington. the house -- forget but debating things like higher fuel efficiency and higher member wage. that would all have been about impeachment. it it went quickly would have taken a year and have to go through the house and the senate. when you look at the composition of the house and nat, it was extremely unlikely to be successful. even if it were successful you have taken all the oxygen and plied to one thing and at best you get rid of george bush with 12 months to go and swear in a president tcheny. and i think there was great tactic:concern that that was not good universe time, and even more importantly, the issue -- i don't think you need a clearcut case of impeachment. you say clinton only lied but
sex and those kind of things. misses the opinion. whether the magnitude of george bush's misjudgment on iraq is of enormously more -- much more consequential than anything bill clinton or andrew johnson 100 years before that did to get themselves impeached to me it's beside the point the questions, is it's crime and misdemeanor and as much as the good people of san francisco and near marin county overwhelmingly believe it is, i think the board of supervisors in san francisco has passed a resolution saying so -- it's a very debatable legal point, one that is unlikely to have passed in congress and one of her great concerns -- this is true on this issue and other issue she is also looking at people like heath sheweller in north carolina and barron nil indiana and all sorts of moderate democrats who if this gets thrown on the table, this becomes the media obsession and she is worried about schuler
never wins relax and the middle america will say this us the same old washington that we're sick of me and loses her majority, and what she said is wish the people who have all this energy pents up on impeachment would please transfer that energy to try to take on republican candidates around the country. that would expand our policy goals. shoe has taken a great deal of abuse on this and it's the reason that she faces a challenge now from cindy sheehan, running against her. pelosi has 80 mrs. purse of the votes in each re-election, 1987 she barely beat hari britt but since then she wins huge. this will bring her vote total down to the high 70s but there are lot of people who are angry with her in her own district. anymore questions? >> sign some books. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. [applause]
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversation] >> you're watching book which of on c-span2. television for serious readers. this past week nancy pelosi was elected again to the speaker over the house. she previously served as speaker from 2007 to 2011. in 2008, speaker pelosi appeared on c-span's q & a program to talk about her book "know your power."